Lawmakers approve $32.4B spending plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Lawmakers have approved the state’s $32.4 billion spending plan for the budget year beginning in July.

The House approved the measure 68-27 on Thursday and the Senate voted 28-3 a few hours later in favor the plan, which removes previously planned salary increases for teachers and state employees to make up for flagging state revenue collections.

Both Democrats and Republicans presented proposals to give teachers and state employees one-time bonuses, but all those amendments failed.

Last year, Gov. Bill Haslam pledged to improve the salaries of the state’s teachers. He says he regrets not being able to offer raises next year, but remains committed to increasing their pay.

Lawmakers are required by the state constitution to pass a balanced budget each year.